Still want Him to call you “friend”?

When you think of the qualities of friendship, what comes to mind? Probably a similar list to mine ... loyal, supportive, defender, easy to be with, they “get” and laugh at my jokes. In short, I like being with them. Try this definition of friendship: “Someone who is more committed to your character than your comfort.” Is that something you look for in a friend? According to Proverbs 27:6, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend”! That’s someone who wants deeper things from me than my comfort. They want my character.

This week, when I read Psalm 18, I was struck by how this worked for David. Remember: he was “a man after God’s own heart” (see 1 Samuel 13:14 and Acts 13:22). I don’t know all that expression means, but I like the sound of it. So sign me up! But it might be helpful to look a little closer first at the psalm David wrote and notice ... being a man after God’s own heart isn’t the same as saying, “God I want cake and punch and two scoops of ice cream, please.” It may be hard. Plenty hard.

Consider that David probably wrote this after the Lord delivered him from the hand of his enemies ... especially Saul. Don’t miss the many metaphors David uses to describe the Lord he loves. The Lord had been a rock – fortress – deliverer – shield – horn – stronghold (v.2). What makes these things so important to David is described in verses 4-5. David was in a tough spot. Several times he talks about facing such difficulties that he nearly died!

Now for a surprising twist. What impresses me more than God delivering David, is that God would allow someone He’s crazy about (“man after God’s own heart!”) to experience such difficulties in the first place! What’s it say about God that He allows serious suffering into our lives ... the lives of people He loves?

One writer was honest but wrong in her assessment. Complains Teresa of Avila, “God, if this is the way you treat your friends, it’s no wonder you have so few!”

Maybe. But more likely, when God lets hard stuff into our lives it’s to make us people after His own heart. And, at the same time, give us a chance to see Him as David did ... as our Rock – Fortress – Deliverer. 

That’s the kind of friend I want!

~Pastor Steve

Supplemental Scriptures: James 1:2-5, Romans 5:3-5, 1 Peter 4:12-19

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